Painting Cabinets: Yay or Nay?

Amy D. Morris Interiors Painting Cabinets: Yay or Nay?Amy D. Morris Interiors

It's amazing how strong the opinions are held by many people about the finer points of home interior design. Some won't consider a kitchen without granite counter tops. Others insist on crown molding in family rooms. There are even those whose aesthetic preferences eliminate homes that don't have hardwood floors throughout.

Another point of contention occurs in kitchens. There are those folks who feel very strongly about whether or not to paint kitchen cabinets. Is this something that should be avoided at all costs? Or is it a viable option for the modern homeowner?

Paint or Replace?

The answer largely depends on what the other options are. For example, if a person is weighing to paint his or her cabinets or replace them altogether, then painting should be considered. After all, if the cabinets themselves are structurally sound and operate perfectly, it's not usually wise to get rid of them simply because they don't look good. In this case, exploring different paint colors is preferable to ripping out properly-functioning cabinets.

Paint or Wood?

But much of the debate around painting kitchen cabinets centers around the bias toward the unspoiled beauty of wood. It's certainly true that stained (or even naked) wood cabinetry contributes to a natural look that accentuates the appearance of any kitchen. That said, it is possible to maintain a light and airy feel to a kitchen by a careful choice of paint shade and keeping the fine look of wood in the floors, walls, and trim.

How Much Maintenance?

It's also important to envision what painted cabinets will look like over time. In most instances, they will display dirt, food stains, and smudges more prominently than wood, meaning that more cleaning and maintenance will be required.

In addition, it's quite common for chips to appear in painted cabinets simply from being struck by heavy or sharp objects. That's why if you do paint your cabinets, you should always keep some extra paint or a cabinet "reconditioning kit" on hand for occasional touch-ups.

DIY or Pro?

As with any home improvement project, cost is a factor in the decision-making process. If you choose to paint your cabinets, would you pay to hire a professional to handle the job? Or would you simply purchase the materials and complete the project yourself? It's quite possible that even if you like the idea of painted cabinets, there may be better ways to utilize your time or your home improvement dollars.

Stay or Go?

Finally, it's essential to take into account how long you intend to stay in your home. If you're not planning on relocating any time soon, then you won't be encumbered by any restraints on paint color choices. But if you are planning a move in the near future, it might be smarter to hold off on committing to a new cabinet color that a potential home buyer may not like.

Really, there's no absolute right or wrong answer to the question of whether to paint kitchen cabinets. The most important aspect is to make sure any cabinet painting is done right - either by the homeowner or by a contractor. After all, the last thing anyone wants to do is spend time and money on a kitchen cabinet painting job only to leave them looking less attractive than they were before the project.

Chris Martin is a freelance writer about topics ranging from auto insurance to consumer finance to online reputation management.

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